Wednesday Wag 9/2

PETA wants Mayor Nutter and City Council to ban the city's horse-drawn carriages, PETA sent its letter after an August 29 incident in which a horse who was pulling a carriage suffered a leg injury when it spooked and crashed the carriage into a pole at the intersection of Third and Walnut streets. PETA says injuries and concern over the health of carriage horses has prompted bans in at least 13 other cities, including Camden, N.J. Similar efforts have been unsuccessful in New York City.

The city did in fact whitewash a mural depicting Michael Vick strangling a pit bull that was painted on the side of a tire shop in Kensington. KYW reports the Anti-Graffiti Squad painted over the mural on the side of the tire store at 2nd and York streets because the owner did not have the sign permit. The owner of the business, who identified herself only as Marisol, said "so much for free speech" and added she was unaware a permit was needed. She says the message of the painting was about the importance of second chances.

They may not be moving out the door as quickly as No. 7 jerseys, but the Pennsylvania SPCA is pleased that its first  "Second Chance Dogs" event - held last Thursday, the same day as Vick's debut with the Eagles -helped match 24 needy pit bulls with loving owners. The campaign is aimed at raising awareness about the plight of neglected and abused pit bulls who make up 80 percent of the dogs taken in off the streets of Philadelphia and so often end up being put down.

In other news involving, professional athletes and animal abuse, the prosecutor who tried former N.J. Nets star Jayson Williams for manslaughter over five years ago, could be back in court to answer allegations that Williams was the victim of racial bias and prosecutorial misconduct. Williams, who was acquitted of aggravated manslaughter and aggravated assault in connection with the death of a chauffeur, faces a retrial on a reckless manslaughter count that produced a hung jury at the first trial.

And here's where the dog comes in.

Williams allegedly shot his Rottweiler, Zeus, about the same time in 2001 after losing a wager. Fellow Nets player Daryl Schintzius told investigators Williams bet him that he couldn't pull the dog out of his house. Schintzius did so and told investigators that Williams then shot the dog. He later allegedly pointed the gun at Schintzius and told him to clean up the dog's remains "or you're next." The case led to the closure of the Hunterdon County SPCA by the N.J. SPCA after it learned the shelter refused to file charges against Williams over the dog's killing. Williams had given the shelter a $500 check two weeks before.

The Trenton gator has been snared. A check of traps set by state wildlife experts at a Stacy Park pond this morning found the four-foot reptile, whose presence caused a children's fishing tournament to be canceled over the weekend. Apparently, chicken legs and chicken livers did the trick - along with a bigger trap, said Darlene Yuhas, spokeswoman for the state Department of Environmental Protection. Only zoos or wildlife exhibitors are granted permits to own alligators in New Jersey, so officials think like many exotic reptiles it was probably being kept illegally and either escaped or was released . The alligator will be offered to zoos in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania, Yuhas said. Two years ago, an alligator found in Philadelphia's Pennypack Creek was given a home by the Elmwood Park Zoo in Norristown.